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Need to stand up to ex. Suggest a wording for me please?

(56 Posts)
porridgelover Sun 14-Oct-12 18:57:07

So....STBXH was a very abusive man. No physical but emotionally had me at a point of believing that he and my babies would be better off if I topped myself. Sexual manipulation, financial, cut me off from friends and family. Porn addict. He left (I believe) thinking that it would finally shut me up, that my final shred of resistance to his abuse would shrivel...so that he could march back in as master-of-all-he surveyed.
I have had no support since he left. Family hopeless. Some shred of dignity wouldnt allow me to let him come back without serious changes. So he never got back in grin
Since then, one of DC has been diagnosed with SN and I have concentrated on that. Access and maintenance is on an informal, agreed between us basis. Actually, that's not true....he takes what access he wants and that suits him and he give what maintenance he wants.

I have to set boundaries to him for everything (suffice to say the poo-ing ex thread here was no surprise to me).

So, I had a text from him today, to say that he wouldn't see the kids according to the schedule over the next week. No explanation, certainly not looking to see if it's ok. Just as if he was ringing a childminder.
I've had enough of this...I had wanted to do a SN related course next weekend but wont be able to now. (Bet he knew this sad). I cant make him be a parent but he is so manipulative that he can twist any assertiveness to find a ''poor him'' angle.

I dont want to rile him. I dont want to go all guns blazing, it's not my style.
So, your suggestions please on how to be assertive, without being aggressive?

porridgelover Sun 14-Oct-12 18:59:55

God, I sound pathetic don't I? I've actually built myself back up from the floor. Have had to learn/re-learn that I am not worthless. That I can speak. That I can have a point of view thats different to whoever. So I'm actually not too bad (I think).
I have been guilty of trying to placate him. For the DC's sake. Tied to be civil. Tried to have all conversations by email. No can do.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 14-Oct-12 19:04:26

Sorry to hear about your situation, porridge. I'm sure there'll be some experts along shortly, but have you considering doing an assertiveness course? That might teach you some tricks and techniques

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 14-Oct-12 19:05:15

PS you are absolutely not pathetic smile

MushroomSoup Sun 14-Oct-12 19:08:16

For a start, contact the CSA. He is not allowed to just give you what he thinks you deserve whenever he feels like it.
Then agree and stick to a contact rota. Use a solicitor or mediation. Or don't let him see them at all and let HIM do the running around to organise it. He can't use you as a child minder FFS. You're separated! You are entitled to a life that doesnt revolve around him anymore!

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 14-Oct-12 19:13:10

Agree, CSA and then Court for regular visiting schedule.
CSA has put my ex out of my direct life and it has been so much nicer. He still texts and emails me every month, nothing about DD at all, just about me being a bitch, but I can deal with that as he isn't IN my life or in control.
If he ever shows an interest in seeing his DD again then I would ensure it went through Court. I know he won't stick to any arrangements we make (hence CSA) so only way forward is legal. It seems high pressure but actually takes all of the pressure off as you are going by the book and he can't say you wrote it smile

RobynRidingHood Sun 14-Oct-12 19:14:05

Document - via emai or text.

And whatever the CSA is now called - contact them.

Re your SN course - have you a friend that can step in? I know it's a big ask of someone, but you dont ask, you dont get. Or contact the course provider and see if they have a suggestion.

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 14-Oct-12 19:14:11

Someone recommended CAFCASS to me on here not so long ago, they may be handy?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Oct-12 19:16:04

You're definitely not pathetic for wanting to be civil. But, if it's not working, you need a new tactic. I would agree 100% with MushroomSoup... make yourself and your DC's independent of him in every regard so that he has no further involvement in your life, schedule or anything else. The less you require him to do, the less he can control you by letting you down. Get his money off him via CSA and a solicitor to formalise everything as part of the divorce. Your children won't suffer if he is a bit player in their lives.

Separation in your case is literally what you should be aiming for.

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 14-Oct-12 19:18:36

I would say something like:
Unfortunately that is not convenient for me this weekend. In future would you be able to tell me 2 weeks in advance so that we can arrange a fair outcome? In this instance I would suggest you contact a babysitter as I will be away from * to* and have already arranged travel and accommodation. As it was your weekend to have the children, this is only fair.

Thank you.

porridgelover Sun 14-Oct-12 19:27:48

Thank you for reassuring me as to my non-patheticness..
I dont think it's assertiveness training I need..I dont have a difficulty that way (I'm pretty sure). I am inclined to think the best of people but when I think they are taking the piss, I can distance and stand up for myself. But being assertive with ex is a challenge for him. He has to wear it down and persuade you as to the illogicality of your position I have seen him do it to politicians (!) and people in his line of business.
I am extremely fair (another 'weakness' he has exploited) so have always 'made allowances. When he left I was on the floor, but was determined that my goal was to be as civil as possible for the DC. This too is a 'weakness'.

Bit by bit I am becoming the hard-nosed 'b*tch' he would like to portray me as.

I have tried to push everything onto email but he refuses to acknowledge or reply to them.

There have been several instances where I have booked something on 'his' weekend and he has bailed late in the day. He has a business which does take up a lot of time, but it's also a handy excuse IYKWIM? So if I refuse to bend on this, it will become a rant that I have no knowledge of the real world of work as I sit on my fat ars* with nothing to do all day except walk the dog.
Thanks for the replies.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Oct-12 19:31:55

If he bails and refuses to acknowledge e-mails etc. then he simply loses out on seeing the DCs... and that's his loss, not theirs. Refuse to bend this time and, because you know they're on their way, ignore the recriminations. Sticks and stones may break your bones but insults hurled by a man who knows he has lost can never hurt you....

porridgelover Sun 14-Oct-12 19:39:44

Ah cogito, thats where I come unstuck. I am desperate for them to have a relationship with him. I feel I have failed them so badly by picking someone so unsuitable to be Dad.
If I become rigid on this, I believe he will walk further away from them. Saying that it was my fault. And I hate, hate the thought of that for them.
I have taken a point of view that I wont speak badly of him (only here!) as I dont want them to hear it back from some busybody in 10 years time.
I am very isolated as I live in 'his' town, with an unsupportive family some 2 hours away. And my ability to make friendships/form supports is limited as going out at night costs baby-sitting money.
Round and round I go.
This is a bit of a final straw as he does see me as only an expensive childminder. T'was ever thus.
Re CSA, as he owns a family business, of which I am a nominal co-owner, it's not straightforward and we are stuck at the Accountants arguing valuations stage.

dequoisagitil Sun 14-Oct-12 19:46:45

But it's not your fault if he doesn't live up to being a good father. You can't make him, and you can't turn him into the father they deserve.

By bending over backwards to enable their relationship, you make yourself his hostage. And he'll never be that good dad if it's only for the purpose of trampling you down that he'll have anything to do with them.

What makes you think they'll believe him over the woman who raises them and puts them first?

mummytowillow Sun 14-Oct-12 19:48:21

I had this with my ex, he always pays but contact is sporadic and he chooses when he sees her.

He always knows i'm very flexible so takes advantage of this. One thing i quickly learnt when you arrange nice things for yourself on his weekend, DON'T tell him, let him think your sitting indoors watching X factor then he can't spoil it for you.

Go to CSA about the money if he refuses to pay tgebe

mummytowillow Sun 14-Oct-12 19:49:34

That should say 'they will take it out of his wages or business'

ATourchOfInsanity Sun 14-Oct-12 19:51:19

I agree with Des here. If my ex decides to do the same and say it was all my fault he never saw her, I think my DD would realise that he didn't try very hard. You sound very fair IRL and I doubt they would see you as someone domineering enough to MAKE him stay away. Plus there is always Court if he wants to see them that much. They will wonder why he didn't fight to see them, not what you did to make him run away.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Oct-12 19:55:57

Is it your responsibility for picking a crap father for them or is it his responsibility for being that crap father?? Turning it around... should your DC's be grateful to him for choosing you as their mother? I don't think so.

You don't have to speak badly of him to anyone but I think you also have to be very wary of making so much effort to be his PR department out of some misplaced sense of guilt, especially where your children are concerned. Having known a family where totally absent & uninterested Dad became a fantasy figure because Mum wouldn't tell her DD's the truth about him, she went through years of resentment at their hands... until they met him, of course, and discovered what a git he actually was.

porridgelover Sun 14-Oct-12 19:58:13

Thank you all. That post was quite illuminating Des and ATourch.
I am doing exactly that; I run after him to arrange contact. Literally in the beginning. I am very fair and as I've said, that's a perceived weakness to him.
I think there's part of me being soooo very reasonable as if somehow he will wake up and say 'wow, I am so lucky that exW is so fair about this; I must get my ass into gear'.
It's never going to happen. I am giving him power over me in this last area.

God I am derailing my own thread! So how would you phrase (polite, reasonable, firm enough that totally unreasonable twat power-hungry ex gets it) a reply to say 'ah, no that actually wont be OK with me'.

porridgelover Sun 14-Oct-12 19:59:59

Cogito that first sentence is a good one to ponder.
I am his PR dept and have started to realise that it does DC no good at all.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Oct-12 20:06:22

'Sorry you're cancelling. However, seeing as this is clearly not working, I'm also going to cancel the schedule going forward. Happy to work on a more reliable contact schedule via solicitors'

mistlethrush Sun 14-Oct-12 20:07:37

If you're sending him emails etc - if he suggests that you've prevented him from seeing DCs later, you'll be able to show them the evidence of you facilitating contact that's just been rebuffed by him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Oct-12 20:13:02

My friend's DDs were in their late teens before they met their Dad and were badly let down enough to see him in his true colours. My friend had been their primary and sole carer since they were 2yo and 4yo but, when they hit adolescence, they had built up such an image of 'model Dad' that poor old Mum, responsible for nasty stuff like discipline, homework and getting them to help with household chores, got cast as the Wicked Witch of the West by comparison. Backfired badly

Viviennemary Sun 14-Oct-12 20:18:58

You are not pathetic in fact the very opposite. You are trying hard and your ex has put a spanner in the works. I know somebody whose children were constantly being let down by their Father and now they're older they just can't be bothered with him and don't want to know him at all. can't say I blame them. I've not got any answers for you except you are doing a great job.

DistressedMumHELP Sun 14-Oct-12 20:21:03

First of all your STBXH sounds like mine to a t all but mine was physically abusive to. I recently started the freedom programme and its brilliant please look into it.

As for contact say that your DC don't know what's happening from one week to the next so you feel its only fair on them that you get something legally put into place.

And well done for building yourself up and standing up for yourself. It's hard I know but with time it will get easier. It's .11 months since my split.

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